Literature Review

Reviewing the Literature: Why do it?

  • Personal: To familiarize yourself with a new area of research, to get an overview of a topic, so you don't want to miss something important, etc.
  • Required writing for a journal article, thesis or dissertation, grant application, etc.

Literature reviews vary; there are many ways to write a literature review based on discipline, material type, and other factors.

How to write a literature review?

Where to get help (there are lots of websites, blogs, articles, and books on this topic):

  • Dissertations A Guide to Preparing and Submitting your Dissertation - GSAS
  • Official documentation - find out from publisher websites, journal editors, dissertation advisors, etc. what their expectations are for a lit review
  • Books - these are just a sample of books available at Harvard
    • How to prepare a scientific doctoral dissertation based on research articles (2012)
    • Writing a graduate thesis or dissertation (2016)
    • The good paper : a handbook for writing papers in higher education (2015)
    • Proposals that work : a guide for planning dissertations and grant proposals (2014)
    • Theses and dissertations : a guide to planning, research, and writing (2008)
  • Talk to your professors, advisors, mentors, peers, etc. for advice